LSU Tigers: South Carolina football
"We're only halfway through the year," he said. "We haven't hit the heights we hit at Florida."
Not yet. Coming off a ground-breaking 35-7 rout of Georgia, the Gamecocks must now go to No. 9 LSU (7 p.m. CDT Saturday, ESPN) and prove it's for real.
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Given that, one would think LSU would be comfortable playing another elite defense comparable to its own.
Instead, there is an assumed mismatch this week when the struggling LSU offense faces No. 3 South Carolina's vaunted defense, ranked 11th in the country at 278 yards per game. It's a Gamecocks defense that, in many ways, mirrors LSU's own defense and comes into Saturday's game at Tiger Stadium at the peak of its powers coming off a 35-7 shellacking of Georgia.
It starts up front where, like LSU's tandem of Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, South Carolina has dominant ends in sophomore Jadaveon Clowney and senior Devin Taylor.
"This is definitely going to be one of the bigger challenges we've had this fall," said LSU offensive tackle Alex Hurst. "Both guys that play at both ends, they are definitely NFL caliber and they are going to be high NFL draft picks. This is a challenge we're going to have to be ready for."
Clowney's name is one that is particularly interesting to those who follow LSU recruiting. The Gamecocks leader in sacks with 6.5, he was the top-ranked player in the country coming out of high school in 2011, just ahead of LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson.
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